Giving Tuesday 2014 takes place December 2, the day after Cyber Monday, which follows Black Friday. First announced in October 2012, the #GivingTuesday concept sets out to harness the high-volume spending of post-Thanksgiving—channeling these dollars into fundraising for nonprofits throughout the world.

For those who work with a charity or execute marketing efforts for charitable organizations, sources in the industry say now is an excellent time to brainstorm on our #givingtuesday campaigns. My company works with several nonprofits; this will be our first year strategizing and executing our own campaigns to generate maximum funding on Tuesday, December 2.

As with all flawlessly executed social media, Giving Tuesday emits a flair of real-time spontaneity. We anticipate that as with all major events, it will be the thoughtful and advanced planning behind the scenes that will make our campaigns effective.

While the hash tag “#givingtuesday” implies raising funds online, a hybrid of offline and online fundraising will cater to multiple audiences and widen our chances for generating increased funds. To help maximize our Giving Tuesday fundraising efforts, our intention is to implement a holistic plan that includes:

Thoughtful Goal-Setting
In their July 29, 2014 webinar, “Maximize #GivingTuesday to Meet Your Fundraising Goals,” Network for Good says consider the “right goal” when attracting donors, new donors, dollars, recurring givers and participation. So we’ll go BIG when setting a fundraising goal. While determining the amount of funds we hope to raise, we’ll also think about what online or onsite platforms we need to do this, deciding on the following:

    1. What merchant services or online donations services will we use?
    2. What donation technology is easy-to-access and use with smartphones and tablets.
    3. Will we accept cash or check donations on the day of or in advance? We’ll have special jars/fishbowls onsite to collect these donations and put a team in charge to collect these jars/fishbowls at the end of the day.
    4. We plan to use online platforms that enable us to thank our donors right away, such as an auto-responder.
    5. How much will we request? If it makes sense, we’ll create donation buttons for set amounts but make it flexible so our donors can give what they can.

Creating a Project Plan
Game day is Tuesday, December 2. The brainstorming is happening now and a sub-committee will be in place to execute the strategies. Depending on the client, I may suggest engaging our community partners in this effort. 92Y and the United Nations Foundation created a website dedicated to offering tools and best practices for building a Giving Tuesday marketing campaign. Check out their ideas »

Promoting One Month Ahead
By the time November 2 rolls around, we want to be ready to promote our Giving Tuesday efforts. Here’s our checklist to ensure we can help our clients to market Giving Tuesday one month in advance:

  1. Special Web section. This page will describe what Giving Tuesday is and list calls to action throughout the campaign. The calls to action will include asking viewers to share teasers in advance via social media announcing the date of Giving Tuesday and how we will want them to donate. This page will also be mobile friendly and ready to receive online donations on the day of.
  2. Onsite promotion. This is where flyers and postcards will be essential. The message will focus on saving the date and budgeting to give to the organization on Giving Tuesday. All printed materials will include social media handles and the URL for the special Web section.
  3. Announcement to the media. A news release to local media sent twice–one a month in advance, the other one week in advance–will announce that the organizations will participate in Giving Tuesday and ask for community participation (go to our website, follow us, like us, etc.)
  4. Letter campaign. For the organizations that have a postal mail list, we’ll connect with them by sending them a letter describing Giving Tuesday and inviting them to participate.
  5. eMail Marketing. As with the letter campaign, an e-newsletter will target our existing lists. This is an excellent promotional vehicle because of easy-to-click opportunities for recipients to like and follow in social media as well as visit the special Web section.

Once all of the above is set in place, we’ll consistently promote our efforts throughout the month and get ready for…

Working it on December 2, 2014
On the big day, Tuesday, December 2, we intend for our No. 1 focus to be communicating with existing and new donors via social media and onsite. Using the channels listed in Step 3 to promote day-of messaging, here is our #GivingTuesday day-of checklist:

  1. Place #GivingTuesday jars in all onsite locations.
  2. Send an eBlast to list. Link to Web page to collect donations and let them know we’re also collecting donations onsite.
  3. Auto-schedule tweets in Hootsuite. Tweet throughout the entire day. Link to Web page to collect donations. Use hashtag #GivingTuesday.
  4. Promote on Facebook, twice a day. Ask readers to share our post. Link to Web page to collect donations. Use hashtag #GivingTuesday.

Gifts in Another’s Honor


It’s possible our calls to action can promote making donations in another’s honor. If we go this route, we’ll send certificates or e-cards–such as the St. Jude Children’s Hospital e-card above–to the person who’s name will appear on the donation. The goal would be to mail them right after your Giving Tuesday campaign so recipients get them in time for the religious holidays.

One Last Thought

As we move forward with our efforts, we’ll start with the end in mind and be ready to thank our donors amply after the big day. We’re excited about Giving Tuesday as it not only celebrates the spirit of giving but heralds a chance to develop long-term relationships with loyal ambassadors to our causes. That said, we’ll keep in touch with our new donors and continuously seek ways to engage them in our future efforts.